Delaying Cremation in the Case of a Suspicious Death

It does seem counterintuitive for Smart Cremation to write about delaying a cremation, but sometimes a delay is necessary.

If you suspect a loved one’s cremation is being rushed, then the law might help you prevent the cremation from going forward if you take the right steps.

Death laws vary from state to state. Smart Cremation operates in four states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Oregon
  • Washington.

Despite the differences, state death laws share a lot of similarities. Becoming familiar with what your state says as well as with federal expectations can help loved ones follow the right procedures, preventing the loss of evidence.

The Generalities

When a loved one stipulates by will that he or she wants to be cremated, then funeral homes often require that the next of kin finalize the process by completing a certificate to release the body for cremation. This may seem unreasonable but it actually is a wise step. Although cremation

  • saves money
  • is earth-friendly
  • saves land space

it also is a much more final process than burial. And because of this, the law doesn’t just allow all bodies to undergo cremation unless it’s the wishes of the deceased or unless some other legality approves the cremation.

For instance, when remains are found and no next of kin discovered, those remains are either buried or cremated or donated for study. If there’s a question about the cause of death, they might not be cremated to preserve them for future testing. If there’s a criminal case, or if family eventually comes forward so that DNA tests can be done, burial preserves the body for future testing.

Again, what happens depends on where you live.

Reporting a Suspicious Death

If you suspect someone is a homicide victim, the best thing to do is speak to the police immediately. You may also want to call the coroner’s office. If the death occurred in the hospital, then speak with the doctor about your suspicions as soon as your loved one is admitted.

The sooner you speak to as many people as possible, the more likely it is that you will be able to delay a cremation. Whatever you do, don’t expect an autopsy to solve everything. Not all states require an autopsy so it’s possible that something might remain unnoticed by authorities, especially in the case of an elderly or infirmed person.

What Federal Law Ordains

Federal law enforces strict guidelines about reporting the cause of death and protocols about handling remains. As previously mentioned, each state and even some counties also enforce their own codes. We told you that Smart Cremation operates in California. Well, take a look at the Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner Coroner website, and read all the procedures they follow.

If you report your concerns to the right people, they will listen. You should also consider consulting a lawyer. If you make a strong case, then authorities will not hesitate to investigate the matter.

Free Consultation

Smart Cremation provides a free consultation. We service many people, even those who are the victims of homicide. We offer affordable rates and will talk to you in the privacy of your own home. Please call us at 844-305-4531 to arrange a time to speak with us when the time is right.